Dear Girl ~Stories~ 49: DGS Hibiki Manga & DGS Fanbook

< Episode 48 | Episode 50 >

Title: 川口名人 (Kawaguchi-meijin / Master Kawaguchi)
View Episode Guide
Rating: :D :) (1 & 1/2 out of 5 grins)
ATTENTION!!! Important Note: All the translations below are my own (by Arria Cross). All are labelled “rough translation”, as they did not undergo any professional proofreading and/or editing and may lack literal and/or grammatical accuracy.  I did my best, however, to convey the atmosphere and context of the conversations in this radio show.

dgs1

Credit: animelo.jp

This is the 49th episode of Kamiya Hiroshi (神谷浩史) and Ono Daisuke’s (小野大輔) radio show Dear Girl ~Stories~.  Exciting news for HiroC and OnoD because they have received a manuscript copy of their manga Dear Girl Stories: Hibiki. They discuss it for a few minutes.  They announce that it’ll be released on March 21 (2008).

Dear Girl ~Stories~: Hibiki Manga

Dear Girl ~Stories~: Hibiki Manga

OnoD explains that this Kawaguchi-meijin mentioned in the title made a Gundam model that he gave to Nakamura Yuuichi on his birthday (Feb. 20). HiroC kind of brushes him off, and then immediately returns to the topic of the manga manuscript.

They describe their manga and how their characters are portrayed. HiroC says that the manuscript is about 40 pages long. I read perhaps a couple of chapters of their manga. It’s cute, but it’s not a wow-inducing kind of manga. HiroC’s character is so adorable. I suggest that you read it for yourself and form your own opinions.

They also comment how there are a lot of cats in the manga with OnoD reading their names. Then HiroC, as usual, notices that the names of the cats correspond the other 3 members of DG5:

OnoD: The names of the cats are An-chan and. . .
HiroC: An-chan is cute, right?
OnoD: Gen-kun. . .
HiroC: Gen-kun?
OnoD: And Yuu-kun and. . .
HiroC: Yuu-kun and?
OnoD: Kyan-chan.
HiroC: Kyan-chan?
OnoD: And then there are also Tomo and Kazu.

An-chan & Gen-kun = Angen Youtaka (Yasumoto Hiroki)
Yuu-kun & Kyan-chan = Yuukyan (Nakamura Yuuichi)
Tomo & Kazu = Sugita Tomokazu (so easy to understand)

HiroC: Ah! Aren’t those. . .An and Gen are for Angen. Yuu and Kyan are for Yuukyan. And then the names for Tomokazu are just so straightforward.
OnoD: Ahahaha! It’s so easy to understand. It’s everyone from DG5.
HiroC: Ahhh!

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A Beautiful Yet Tragic Tale of Love in “Hotarubi no Mori e”

Rating: :D :D :D :D :D (perfect 5 grins)

I prefer watching episodic anime series rather than anime films, but I must admit that certain anime films have transient beauty that typical anime series can never acquire.  One of these gems is an anime film titled Hotarubi no Mori e (蛍火の杜へ) by Midorikawa Yuki (緑川ゆき).  You may be familiar with Midorikawa-sensei as the mangaka of Natsume Yuujinchou (夏目友人帳)another favourite series of mine.

hotarubi no mori e-poster

Buy Hotarubi no Mori e The Movie in Blu-ray at Amazon.com

I’m already familiar with the film before I actually watched it, so I knew what to expect, but it didn’t deter me from appreciating its simple elegance and bittersweet love story.  Believe me when I say this:  this movie is BEAUTIFUL!!!

The film starts off in a silent and simple way.  One thing that I immediately notice is its focus on nature.  The background music is kept to a bare minimum, using the natural forest sounds instead, such as the sound of flowing wind and water, rustling leaves, swaying tree branches, and crying cicadas.  And when you do hear background music, its usually just one instrument like piano or what sounds like traditional Japanese instruments.  I think that the lack of symphonic background music and the concentration on natural forest sounds emphasize the mysteriousness of the Yamagami no Mori (forest of the mountain god) which is filled with youkai.

Six-year-old Takegawa Hotaru meets a mysterious masked male within the forest.  He reveals that he is cursed by the mountain god; that he would disappear when his skin is touched by a human.  I was already preparing my heart because I knew that this kind of premise was doomed for tragedy.  But man, what a beautiful tragedy this film portrays!  When Hotaru introduces herself to this strange male, you can’t ignore the great pause after.  You wonder whether this masked male has a name or if he has one, if he would give it to Hotaru.  In the end, he gives her his name:  Gin.  I think that this is the turning point because it symbolizes Gin’s trust to Hotaru and his willingness to befriend a human, even if it’s dangerous to do so because of the curse.

It’s so sweet to watch their relationship develop.  Gin waits for Hotaru everyday in front of the shrine.  They spend almost everyday together; playing, talking, and just simply being together.  My own chest literally ached watching the two of them miss each other when Hotaru has to go away after every summer, and look forward to the beginning of the summer vacations when they would be able to see each other again.

As Hotaru grows into a young woman, so her feelings for Gin develop into love.  It’s great to know that Gin returns her feelings, as well.  Because she loves him, she makes him promise never to touch her no matter what, so he won’t disappear.  I was groaning because I can just feel their desire to touch each other, but they can’t because Gin would disappear.  Damn curse!  But before I could hate and want to strangle the mountain god who cursed Gin, we learn that the mountain god and the youkai of the forest saved Gin as a baby.  Gin was a human when he was born, but when he was abandoned in the forest when he was still an infant, the youkai found and took care of him, and finally the mountain god “cursed” him so that he could live in the forest with the youkai.  

You can definitely feel the inevitable tragedy lurking throughout the entire film as you watch Hotaru and Gin yearn for each other whenever they’re apart.  My heart just about broke at Hotaru’s monologue:

Gin ni aitai desu.  Gin ni furetai desu.
ギンに会いたいです。ギンに触れたいです。
I want to meet Gin. I want to touch him.

I have nothing but praise for the lines in this film.  They’re simple, very easy to understand, but they’re packed with emotions.  I was like, holy freaking shoot, these lines are genius!  And what’s more, Gin is not the talkative type, so every word that comes out of his mouth are guaranteed to be meaningful.  He doesn’t directly say it, but you’ll know from the short sentences he speaks that he wouldn’t mind disappearing from the world if it means he and Hotaru get to touch each other.  (இ﹏இ`。)

Then comes the youkai summer festival, where Gin invites Hotaru for a date.  Kyaaaah~ So romantic!  They tie a piece of cloth around their wrists, so that they can stay together.  It’s like holding hands without touching.  It’s so sweet, but so sad!  It almost escaped me, but I want you to notice the background music during the festival.  It’s a typical Japanese festival-like music, but there is an uncomfortable and even frightening sense of doom in it.  Listening to it while watching Gin and Hotaru enjoying the festival, I just knew that tragedy would follow.  And I was right.

My second-most bittersweet scene is when Gin places his mask on Hotarubi, so that he can kiss her without actually touching.  This simple gesture is enough to send me to tears.

My heart sang and cried at the same time.

My heart sang and cried at the same time.

But then the inevitable tragedy arrives.  A couple of human children pass by and Gin accidentally touches one of them.  He begins to disappear.  Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!  I was banging my fists at this moment, but at the same time, I couldn’t help but admire Gin’s beautiful disintegration.  What’s more heart-warming but also heart-breaking is when he opens his arms with a smile on his face, urging Hotaru to finally embrace him before he completely disappears.

come here-hotarubi no mori e

Koi, Hotaru! Yatto omae ni furerareru.
来い、蛍!やっとお前に触れられる。
Come, Hotaru! I can finally touch you.

Freaking shit, my eyes flooded with tears.  I was clutching my chest because it freaking hurt for real; willing Gin not to disappear, but also knowing that it’s the inevitable outcome of the story.  And then comes this scene.

A fleeting moment together remains forever in memories and in the heart.

A fleeting moment together remains forever in memories and in the heart.

I was sobbing all over.  Hotarubi joyfully jumps into Gin’s arms, accelerating Gin’s disintegration, until he completely disappears, leaving only his yukata and mask behind.  This is the climax and it did an excellent job turning me into a horrible crying mess.  Although it was heart-breaking and tragic, I’m still happy that they get to embrace in the end.  Gin fulfills his dream of being embraced by a human he loves.  It’s also satisfying to hear them clearly confess their love for each other.

Gin: Suki da yo.
Hotaru: E. Watashi mo yo.
ギン:好きだよ。
蛍:え。私もよ。
Gin: I love you.
Hotaru: Yes. Me, too.

Once again, brilliant lines!  Simple and succinct, yet packed with powerful emotions of love.  The beautiful background piano music amplifies this heart-breaking climactic scene.  Magnificent, just magnificent!

Even though I suffered red and swollen eyes after, I LOVED Hotarubi no Mori e.  This is, without a doubt, one of the best, most beautiful and meaningful anime films that I’ve ever watched.  The story is not very complicated; it’s very easy to understand, yet the emotions it yanks out of you are powerful.  You can’t help but feel the bittersweet tragedy of Gin and Hotaru’s love.

I highly recommend this film!  It will make you cry and your chest hurt, but it’s worth it.  What are you waiting for?  Watch it now!  If you already watched it, then watch it again!  So beautiful.

Buy Hotarubi no Mori e The Movie in Blu-ray at Amazon.com

Links:
Hotarubi no Mori e Film Website (Japanese)


As you obviously noticed, this post is filled with spoilers.  But if you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you already know that I couldn’t care less if my posts contain spoilers or not.  So yeah.  There you go.  I spoiled almost everything in this movie, but I don’t give a damn.  I’ll say what I want to say here at fujinsei.  It’s. My. Freaking. Blog.  But thank you very much for reading.  ありがとうね。Cheers!

-Arria Cross

Dear Girl ~Stories~ 48: The Great Romance Masters HiroC and OnoD. . .MOSU!!!

< Episode 47 | Episode 49 >

Title: たくさんのバレンタインチョコありがとう!…ってツンデレの浩史が言わないからかわりに俺が言ってみた (Takusan no Barentain Choko arigatou!. . .-tte Tsundere no Hiroshi ga iwanai kara kawari ni ore ga itte-mita / Thanks for the many Valentine’s Day Chocolates!. . .I tried to say instead because Tsundere Hiroshi won’t say these words)
View Episode Guide
Rating: :D :D :D (3 & 1/2 out of 5 grins)
ATTENTION!!! Important Note: All the translations below are my own (by Arria Cross). All are labelled “rough translation”, as they did not undergo any professional proofreading and/or editing and may lack literal and/or grammatical accuracy.  I did my best, however, to convey the atmosphere and context of the conversations in this radio show.

dgs1

Credit: animelo.jp

This is the 48th episode of Kamiya Hiroshi (神谷浩史) and Ono Daisuke’s (小野大輔) radio show Dear Girl ~Stories~.  It’s graduation season in Japan (March). HiroC says that they’re discussing something “normal”, for a change. Then OnoD uses the term “Yayoi” which is an obsolete Japanese term for the third month, referring to March which is the graduation season. Then, typical of OnoD, he deviates from the original topic and uses “Yayoi” as a female name. HiroC interrupts him before he takes too long doing these pointless monologues.

Next, they do the Futsuu Sto Corner (Futsuu Story/Ordinary Story) where they read and discuss letters sent to them by their listeners.

HiroC: Aratamemashite!  This is Kamiya Hiroshi MOSU! (“Aratamemashite” means “to do this formally”, meaning to introduce oneself formally.)
OnoD: Mosu! Mosu! This is Ono Daisuke.
HiroC: Until when do I have to do this duty (of saying “mosu”)? (“Mosu” is OnoD’s popular dialogue tag, taken from his CD “Hinemosu”. I assume that the “mosu” part is written in the program script and HiroC is required to read it whether he likes it or not.)

Noazuku (Listener Letter): This may sounds sudden, but I have someone I like.
HiroC: Oh!
Noazuku (Listener Letter): I’ve liked him for 2 years now, but we will be graduating this March. I want to confess my feelings to him before graduation. If possible, I want to ask him even for just his e-mail address. Do the 2 of you have any experience like this? I want to know what 2 Romance Masters like you have to say.

(Staff laughing in the background)

OnoD: Aaaah~
HiroC: Ooooh~ So we are now the Romance Masters, huh? Well, asking for his e-mail address will be easy, you know.

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Punching Corruption in the Face à la Monkey D. Luffy

30-DAY ANIME CHALLENGE
< Day 26 | Day 28 >
Day 27:  Most Bad-ass Scene From Any Anime Character

I don’t even have to think about it.  My most bad-ass scene from any anime character is Monkey D. Luffy punching the Tenryuubito right in his pathetic, sniveling face.  I already wrote about this bad-ass scene in a previous post that I collaborated with fellow blogger M-Kay titled “Arria’s Top 15 Most Awe-Inspiring Scenes in ONE PIECE”.  In that post, this scene is my #1.

I know, I know.  It’s another post about my #1 favourite series ONE PIECE (ワンピース) by Oda Eiichiro-sensei (尾田 栄一郎). But so what?  I have lots to say about it.

punch-gif-2

This is undoubtedly one of the most significant scenes in ONE PIECE.  Luffy and the rest of the Mugiwara Pirates are now infamous throughout the world as the pirate crew that declared war against the World Government.  All of them have bounties at this point.  Luffy punching the Tenryuubito only serves to increase the Mugiwara Pirates’ fame, further cementing their position as enemies of the World Government.

Like what I said in my previous post “Arria’s Top 15 Most Awe-Inspiring Scenes in ONE PIECE”this scene is not only significant to the series itself, but it also provides a powerful commentary about our “real world”.  The Tenryuubito or the World Nobles represent the people who hold the highest authorities in the world; usually the richest and the most influential.  They think that the world revolves around them and that the rest of the population are their servants whose only purpose in life is to do their bidding.  They think that they are untouchable because of their “high status”.  In other words, the Tenryuubito represents the big-headed assholes who abuse their power and view themselves superior to others.

On the other hand, I think that Luffy represents those who rebel against this status quo and fight against the corruption prevalent in authority.  Although Luffy and his crew are outcasts and criminals, it’s very interesting that Oda-sensei portrays these criminals as the “good guys”, while the supposed allies of justice (the Marines and the World Government) are the “bad guys” in the world of ONE PIECE.  Think about it.

Of course, I’m not saying that everyone who holds authority is corrupt.  I believe that there are those rare people who truly use their power for the betterment of society and its citizens.  But unfortunately, it seems that as long as an organization is made up of people, there would always be corruption somewhere in there.

What I’m saying is that it’s up to you whether you want to be submissive and ignore the exploitation of power of authority figures, like most people in ONE PIECE who kneel and bow down whenever a Tenryuubito walks by.  Or you can stand up, resist, and fight back like Luffy and the Mugiwara Pirates in order to protect the victims of this exploitation.  But don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that you should punch every corrupt official in the face.  You’ll land in jail if you do that, and you’ll just injure your fists because there would be no end to the faces you have to punch.

As you can see, there is a lot of depth in this scene.  It’s not just your average bad-ass scene that looks only cool.  You can learn a lot about our own societal issues if you just dig beneath those flashy action scenes.  Now you know that Luffy punching the Tenryuubito in the face is my most bad-ass scene from any anime character.  What’s yours?

Links:
ONE PIECE Official Website (Japanese)
Weekly Shounen Jump’s ONE PIECE Manga Official Web Portal (Japanese)
ONE PIECE on Toei Animation (Japanese)
ONE PIECE on Funimation (English)
ONE PIECE on Viz Media (English)
ONE PIECE on Madman Entertainment (English)

Dear Girl ~Stories~ 47: HiroC Says “I Don’t Want You in My House Ever Again!”

< Episode 46 | Episode 48 >

Title: 杉田、本番だから電話切るよ (Sugita, honban dakara denwa kiru yo / Sugita, we’re on air so hang up the phone)
View Episode Guide
Rating: :D :D :) (2 & 1/2 out of 5 grins)
ATTENTION!!! Important Note: All the translations below are my own (by Arria Cross). All are labelled “rough translation”, as they did not undergo any professional proofreading and/or editing and may lack literal and/or grammatical accuracy.  I did my best, however, to convey the atmosphere and context of the conversations in this radio show.

dgs1

Credit: animelo.jp

Today is a very special DGS day because it’s March 16, which means that our beloved DG5 Member Yasumoto Hiroki (安元 洋貴 ) will be turning 37 today.  Yay!  Yay!  Yay!  As a gift for you, my fellow DGS fans, this is a guaranteed episode translation (ET).  Enjoy!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Credit:  myanimelist.net

Yasumoto Hiroki (安元 洋貴 )

お誕生日おめでとう!!!


This is the 47th episode of Kamiya Hiroshi (神谷浩史) and Ono Daisuke’s (小野大輔) radio show Dear Girl ~Stories~.

HiroC: It’s awesome, right?
OnoD: What’s awesome?
HiroC: It’s just awesome.
OnoD: What is?
HiroC: It’s already March before we’ve noticed it.
OnoD: Ah. So you’re talking about that.
HiroC: It’s really surprising.
OnoD: “Awesome”, you say. What do you say is “awesome”?
HiroC: This year is somehow just awesome, you know. It was just New Year and before we know it, it’s March already. And of course, what happened last week. . . .

If you’ll remember, OnoD and the DGS staff transformed HiroC’s house last episode into a Men’s Maid Cafe to properly celebrate HiroC’s birthday. OnoD and one of the show’s writers, a Tsubasa-san, dressed up as maids and served HiroC.

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